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Vote-counting machines reject 1-2% of ballots during test

16 February 2016 No CommentEmail This Post Email This Post
A child picks up election paraphernalia after the proclamation rally of presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe and running mate Chiz Escudero in Manila on Tuesday. The Commission on Elections teamed up with other government agencies in promoting a garbage-free May 9, 2016 election.(MNS photo)

A child picks up election paraphernalia after the proclamation rally of presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe and running mate Chiz Escudero in Manila on Tuesday. The Commission on Elections teamed up with other government agencies in promoting a garbage-free May 9, 2016 election.(MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) ? Some ballots were rejected by vote-counting machines (VCM) during a ballot verification test conducted on the units on Monday at the National Printing Office.

In a press conference Wednesday, Mike Santos of international certifier SLI Global Solutions said that about 500 to 1,000—or 1 to 2 percent—of the 50,000 ballots fed to VCMs in the test were rejected because of its “self-diagnostic” feature.

The feature, which is supposed to detect stray marks in the ballot, was turned on to prevent the occurrence of digital lines as seen in the 2013 midterm elections.

According to Comelec chair Andres Bautista, they considered two options after the “oversensitivity” issue surfaced—to disable the feature and to change the VCMs’ “sensitivity threshold.”

He said they chose changing the VCMs’ sensitivity threshold because they wanted to prevent the problem of having digital lines in the electronic image of the ballot.

Because of this, the digital software of the VCM had to be rebuilt, alongside the same process for the canvassing consolidation system.

Comelec is expecting to deposit the trusted builds for the two, as well as that of the election management system, on Friday, days later than the supposed schedule earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the process for the trusted builds for two-thirds of the system that will be used in the May polls had to be repeated after “minor” problems were seen in them.

Santos said they encountered problem in the canvassing consolidation system (CCS) when they were “packaging” the binary codes to generate the ISO image, supposedly the final stage of the trusted build.

The ISO image is the “installable” result of the process.

“The source code… it’s converted into files, as machine-readable files. The first part of the CCS process—the creation of the binaries—was successful,” Santos said.

“The second stage, where those files get packaged, the creation of the ISO image, we had some issue,” he added.

This is different from the “shared code” issue that arose between the CCS and the election management system (EMS) on Monday, which merited the “rebuilding” of the latter the next day.

Elie Moreno, project manager of technology provider Smartmatic-TIM, said that incompatibility issue has been resolved. (MNS)

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